Tuesday, 19 October 2021 02:14

THEATRE REVIEW: crime thriller grips until the end climax Featured

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I'VE never read one of Peter James' crime novels so I was interested to see how well his bestselling thriller Looking Good Dead would transform to the stage at Bath's Theatre Royal, where it is on until Saturday.

I found myself pleasantly surprised as the world premiere, adapted by writer Shaun McKenna and directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, managed to keep me and the rest of the audience on the edge of our seats for most of the time.

The production stars two TV soap stars as warring couple Tom and Kellie Bryce, namely award-winning Adam Woodyatt (better known as Ian Beale in Eastenders) and Gaynor Faye (who is well known for playing Megan Macey in Emmerdale and Judy Mallet in Coronation Street).

Following a somewhat nervous start, Woodyatt eased into the role and looked comfortable by the end. In fact, he positively beamed after the curtain call and looked particularly pleased with the warm reception he was given.

The pair have obviously struck up an on-stage chemistry and slipped quickly into their character roles as a couple massively in debt and at war with each other.

The theory behind the plot is that no good deed goes unpunished. Hours after picking up a USB memory stick left behind on a train seat, Tom Bryce inadvertently becomes a witness to a vicious online 'snuff murder' of a young woman Janie (Natalie Boakye).

When his teenage son, Max (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) reports the crime to the police it has disastrous consequences, placing him and his family in grave danger.

The cast is completed by Harry Long as DS Roy Grace, Ian Houghton as Jonas Kent, Leon Stewart as DC Branson, Gemma Stroyan as Bella Moy, Mylo McDonald with a dodgy Irish accent as Mick and Natalie Boakye as Janie.

The stage design by Michael Holt is quite clever with a sliding set, and lighting is by Jason Taylor and sound is by Max Pappenheim.

If you're a Peter James fan, go see it.

John Baker

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